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Wagstaff Prepares Vandal Engineers of Tomorrow

April 25, 2019

Around the world, aluminum producers look to Wagstaff, Inc. for the equipment, expertise and the knowledge to successfully and safely cast aluminum. Wagstaff, founded in Spokane in 1946, is the world leader in direct chill casting equipment.

The company frequently looks to the University of Idaho College of Engineering for talented engineers. At last count, there were 17 alumni on staff with still more who have retired or moved on to other endeavors. The company has partnered with the U of I College of Engineering on multiple initiatives, including senior capstone design projects, sponsoring the Engineering Design EXPO, collaborating on materials research, and the funding of graduate research projects.

Wagstaff’s latest contribution was a substantial gift from the company and its employees toward the purchase of new lathes and equipment for the Machine Shop in the Gauss-Johnson Engineering Building.

“We like the University of Idaho’s engineering programs, and we like the type of engineer they produce,” Wagstaff Parkes

The lathe fund was created through a partnership between the College of Engineering, engineering alumni Jeff Smutny, ’94, ’98, and Mike Thompson 2006, and the company’s president Barbara Wagstaff Parkes. The fund began with Wagstaff Parkes’ generous contribution, and support continued through a dollar-for-dollar match to contributions made from Wagstaff employees.

Providing engaging, hands-on experiences using modern equipment is at the heart of an engineering education at U of I. Wagstaff’s investments and ongoing support of the college and the university make it possible to provide students with equipment and the workspaces that challenge and prepare them for their career as an engineer.

For more information on Engineering Design EXPO or renovations of the Machine Engineering Shop, contact Bobbi Hughes at or 208-885-5303.

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at


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